The Vietnamese woodwork industry is receiving more and more export orders now mainly due to its penetration into new markets and an ongoing shift in orders from China.
According to the Handicraft & Wood Industry Association of HCMC (Hawa), businesses started to receive orders in January, and the recovery is expected to continue in the coming months though business will be less than last year because of inflation and economic slowdown in major markets.
In April orders will recover to around 70% of the figure for the same month last year, its vice president, Nguyen Chanh Phuong, said.
The Vietnam Timber & Forest Product Association (Vifores) said wooden furniture exports in the first quarter of this year will be 50-55% of the figure for the same period last year.
“It could rise to 60% in the second quarter and to 65-75% in the third and fourth quarters,” its president, Do Xuan Lap, said.
Dang Minh Lanh, director of New Furniture Company, said orders are shifting from China to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand due to changes in the supply chain and rising prices in China after the Covid pandemic.
“European and American customers have also started placing orders again. We are receiving constant requests for price quotations.”
Tran Lam Son, general director of furniture exporter Thien Minh, said foreign buyers who used to route orders through trading companies in Hong Kong and Singapore are now placing them directly with manufacturers in Vietnam.
Interior woodwork firms are also tapping new markets and accepting small orders from traditional ones, he said.
“In the past we focused on large markets like Germany. Now we are exporting furniture to Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.”
Duong Minh Tue, manager at interior woodwork producer Minh Duong, which has a payroll of 2,000 in Binh Duong Province, said her firm is finding new customers in the Middle East.
The Middle East used to favor classic, luxurious, gold-plated products based on cultural and religious factors, and so Malaysia had an advantage in terms of design, but the new generation of customers has changed and is accepting furniture with new designs, she said.
“This is opening up opportunities for Vietnam’s interior woodwork businesses.”
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, Hawa president and chairman of interior design and furniture producer AA Corporation, said many companies are also targeting high-end markets, supplying expensive wooden furniture to four- and five-star hotels in various countries.
“Producing high-end products helps develop the woodwork industry in a sustainable manner.”
Lap said wooden furniture makers should also tap the domestic market, which is worth US$5-6 billion annually.
The sectors have set an export growth target of 2.5% this year, equivalent to $17.5 billion. According to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, exports last year were worth $17 billion.
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